David Boudia into platform final

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Olympic champion David Boudia moved into the 2013 FINA USA Grand Prix platform final at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center on Thursday.

Boudia, competing for the first time since he won the gold medal in London last summer, finished his semifinal grouping with 465.85 points. He came in second behind China's Zhang Yanquan's 529.65.

"It seems real that I won the gold today after the intercom was saying it so much," said Boudia, the only American to make it to the platform final. "It's fun to compete and have that title under your belt. I think it's maybe a reliever.

"Coming into this competition I feel really strong, maybe just as strong as I was at the Olympics, but not as sharp."

Boudia led through the first four rounds, but Zhang scored a 99.00 on his fifth dive to overtake the American.

Boudia's worst dive of the day was his sixth, a back 2½ with 2½ twists that earned him only 45.00 points.

"That was horrible, huh?" Boudia said. "I jumped off the platform and got really tight with my pike and hit the water with my back. It was one of those things that you knew you wouldn't get the best scores.

"Earlier in my career I would've been very upset with that."

Zhang won the 2012 Olympic gold in the synchronized platform competition with countryman Cao Yuan. Cao also qualified for Saturday's final, placing first in his semifinal grouping with 504.10 points.

The other men advancing were: Juan Rios, Colombia, 453.75; Oleksandr Bondar, Ukraine, 455.40; and Maxim Bouchard, Canada, 429.55.

Amanda Burke was the only American to advance in the women's 3-meter springboard competition with a 297.70 score. Also making the 3-meter springboard final were: China's Jun Zhang ( 333.80) and Liu Jiao (322.90); Samantha Mills, Australia, 309.15; Sayaka Shibusawa, Japan, 306.60; and Tina Punzel, Germany, 295.90.

The 25-year-old Burke, a 2010 graduate of Rider University, is competing individually in her first international diving meet. Burke and her coach, Dennis Ceppa, came in hoping she could make it to the semifinal round.

Moving into the final is a thrill for the Southampton, Pa., native, who dived for fun as a child, but never competed in national junior competition. She began diving seriously in her junior year at college, which she believes is why she isn't "burnt out" with the sport.

"I never did juniors or anything, so nobody knows really who I am," Burke said. "My first senior nationals was in 2009.

"I just really learned how to compete two years ago."

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